Picking up the pieces
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
According to the Mountaineers themselves, there were plenty of mistakes to correct.
Few of the Mountaineers were exempt from correction. The offense failed to score a touchdown and failed to score at least 10 points since a 24-0 loss to LSU in 2005.
The offense also turned the ball over twice and struggled to move the ball, with a few exceptions, for much of the game.
Defensively, the Mountaineers gave up 497 yards in total offense. App State allowed two Montana runners to gain over 100 yards rushing, and Grizzlies quarterback Jordan Johnson opened the game by completing his first 12 passes of the game.
Special teams did not go unscathed. Montana blocked a punt that set up a field goal, and the Mountaineers missed a field goal.
It's a lot of work to do for the coaching staff and players going into the Mountaineers' first home game Sept. 7 against North Carolina A&T. Appalachian State has won 11 of its past 12 home openers, and 26 of its last 29 going back to 1984.
"We thought we were ready," Mountaineers coach Scott Satterfield said. "We had some guys who made some uncharacteristic mistakes. The o-line, those guys have played all last year and we probably had more missed assignments as a whole unit than we did at any time last year for any game. Why? I have no idea."
Satterfield, who played quarterback at Appalachian State and has coached on the offensive side of the ball his whole career, said he was disappointed in the App State offense. He said the Grizzlies didn't do anything the Mountaineers didn't expect.
Instead, the Mountaineers did not execute the way they needed to win.
"It was our basic plays and they would go the wrong way," Satterfield said. "It would be just one guy up front who would go the wrong way and that's all it takes. Five guys have to act as one and on one accord and one guy goes the wrong way. When you do that, you're not going to have the success because it only takes a couple of plays and your yardage is up there."
Appalachian State quarterback Jamal Londry-Jackson battled upper body injuries after being hit hard a couple of times in the first half. Londry-Jackson completed 12-of-21 passes for 89 yards.
He agreed that several of the Mountaineers' problems offensively were self-inflicted.
"There were some mental errors that happened here and there," Londry-Jackson said. "They killed some drives. That was the biggest thing."
Defensively, Appalachian State gave up 118 yards to Travon Van and 112 yards to Jordan Canada. Van scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter, while Canada scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Johnson completed 19-of-23 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns without any interceptions. Satterfield said he was most disappointed with the defense's inability to stop the Grizzlies on third down.
"Our defense is a bend-but-don't-break defense," Satterfield said. "Ultimately, you want to keep everything in front of you and fly to the football and hope the offense makes a mistake. Johnson is a good player and their backs are good. They were able to get behind that big o-line and make some plays in the running game."
"I feel like we had a couple of missed assignments or missed tackles," linebacker John Law said. "It was always little stuff that allowed them to extend plays or alignment errors that allowed them to get passes off a little more easily."
Law said that a lack of communication was another problem, but said it was not because of the record crowd of 26,293 at Washington Grizzly Stadium.
"They really weren't that loud," Law said. "I just think everybody was trying to move so fast and take care of their responsibilities that we didn't really check as well as we should."
The Mountaineers have a chance to improve Saturday against North Carolina A&T, which had a bye last week.